Kilcoo in best shape of lives for title bid: Laverty
Kilcoo joint captain Conor Laverty believes his team are at concert pitch for the forthcoming All-Ireland Club Football Championship final against reigning champions Corofin.
The Galway and Connacht kingpins will be going for their third successive All-Ireland Club title but their pedigree does not unduly perturb a Kilcoo side that has grown in self-confidence over the course of recent months.
In winning seven Down titles in eight years, Kilcoo have shown a level of consistency that has earned them admirers far beyond their county boundary.
But Laverty, who combines leading the side with managing the minor team, working as part of Seamus McEnaney's backroom team in Monaghan and serving as director of football at Trinity College, Dublin, believes that Kilcoo could hardly be in better shape both mentally and physically.
"We are in the best shape of our lives," he proclaimed. "I feel we are seeing the rewards of the hard training we have been undertaking and the application we have been showing."
Kilcoo's semi-final win over Dublin and Leinster champions Ballyboden St Enda's has shortened the odds in terms of their prospects of halting Corofin's ongoing honours surge, but not to the extent that they will be permitted to slip into the favourites' role.
Club spokesman Michael Kane accepts that Corofin will prove "a gigantic test" for a Kilcoo outfit that will be playing in an All-Ireland Club final for the first time.
"We have had to exercise patience to get to where we are but now that we are here we want to push on and lift the All-Ireland title," stressed Kane.
"But we recognise that Corofin have vast experience and have accrued a winning mentality. They have players who have tasted success both at club and county level so they know what it's all about."
Twenty-four hours after the final whistle had sounded against Ballyboden St Enda's, the Kilcoo players were engaging in stretching and other exercises as they stepped up their drive for the All-Ireland showdown.
"The commitment of the players is absolute, and their respect for manager Mickey Moran is unbelievable," insisted Kane.